Monday, April 27, 2009

First 10mm Napoleonic playtest...

Just thought I would post a few photos of the first turn or two!

The French
and British are advancing towards each other. The British, under Division Comander Picton, have three brigades. On their left is Colonel Sharpe, a very able commander whose brigade includes two battalions of Scottish infantry. In the center is Colonel Smith. And on the British right is an Allied brigade that is quite large, but suffers from poor leadership under Colonel Krzyski. The French also have three brigades, under Division Commander Ney. On their left is Colonel Lafleur, in the center is Colonel Ducot with the Guard, and on their right the aggressive young Colonel Lerout. While none of their divisions are quite as large as the British Allies, they do have one brigade of Old Guard, who should fight bravely!

In the first turn (sorry I didn't take photos of deployment) the two British infantry brigades advanced, while the Allied brigade, under Colonel Krzyski, moved laterally, taking the chateau that Picton hopes will help secure the British right flank. The French have largely advanced, bringing their far left brigade closer to the Division commander. Only Lerout's brigade, on the French right, failed to receive (or understand, maybe) their orders, but Lerout is an aggressive man and so brought his men forward nonetheless. The Division commanders for both sides are trying to stay centralized, hoping that their farthest brigades manage without direct supervision.

The next turn was a mess for both sides! With no cavalry scouts on the field, clearly the officers were confused about their orders, as no fewer than four brigade commanders failed to understand their orders, a rare occurrence!

The Allied brigade under Colonel Krzyski (a timid man to say the least) stalled as the troops got in each others way and the Colonel tried to decide where his men were needed... thankfully, at least, they occupied the chateau. In the center Colonel Smith, growing nervous at seeing the Guard on the road ahead of him, ignored his orders to advance and instead threw his brigade into line. Colonel Sharpe, the most able British commander, pushed his men forward as ordered.

The biggest disaster took place on the French left, as Colonel Lafleur, despite being practically within shouting distance of his division commander, promptly turned his men and marched backwards, presumably because he thought he saw cavalry in the dead ground ahead! The Guard, under Colonel Ducot, stalled in the center, and only Colonel Lerout pressed his brigade forward.

Thankfully, the Division commanders got most of their men back under control as turn 3 arrived, but not all of them!

Both redcoat brigades surged forward, with Smith in the center moving his columns to the high ground, preparing to fire down on the approaching French Guard. On the British left, Colonel Sharpe advanced his men as well, getting closer to the walls around the farm compound. However Colonel Krzyski of the Allied Brigade, far from Division Commander Picton, either could not understand his orders or, possibly, began to think that discresion was the better part, and the Allied Brigade began to "redeploy" backwards! Picton quickly send an aide to yell in Polish at Colonel Kryzski, hoping it would help.

The French suffered from some mis-communication of their own. While Colonel Lafleur finally understood where Marshal Ney wanted his men and began to bring them up, Colonel Ducot, commander of the Guard, halted his men as he thought he saw British cavalry lurking in the woods, and his men formed square! Colonel Lerout continued his relentless advance... he is an aggressive man as it is, so even operating far from his Division commander he can be counted to push the attack!

By turn four both sides were beginning to merge towards the center and Picton and Ney were careful to explain, in writing, EXACTLY what they wanted from their brigade commanders... and largely, they understood.

First, Sir Thomas Picton's aide finally was able to get Colonel Kryzski's brigade moving in the correct direction, marching up the road past the chateau, as it was clear that the two leftmost French brigades were headed towards Colonel Smith's brigade in the center. Both Colonel Smith and Colonel Sharpe, practically within shouting range of their Divisional Commander, chose to deploy skirmishers... they trusted their rifles to sow confusion in the imminent French attack.

At the same time Colonel Ducot of the Imperial Guard, realizing that the enemy in the woods before him wore red and green jackets and did NOT ride horses, formed his men into column to prepare to attack up the hill... firing uphill can be a chore, and with the British greenjackets already firing at the officers, Ducot figured it would be better to have his elite troops simply fix bayonets, form columns, and go up the hill before the British could deploy into line and really pour on the fire! Meanwhile Lerout continued his attack, perhaps even pushing a bit too far, as his men reached the walls and edges of the woods and promptly came under fire from the British skirmishers. Finally Colonel Lafleur brough his men up, intent on hitting the British center along with the Guard, and close enough that Division Commander Ney could keep a close eye on the attack!

With the British rifles in range, both Ducot's brigade and Lerout's brigade had to take "Stand!" tests, but all of their battalions passed, as they benefited from being in column, and from being elite (in the case of the Guard) and largely behind cover (in the case of Lerout.)

So... that is Turns 1 through 4! I'll get the next few turns up as soon as I play them! Overall I am happy with the way the rules seem to play... there was a RASH of 1s rolled in the second turn, which tended to mix things up a bit, but I DO like that you are not always sure what the commanders will do. Skirmishing seems to work well, as it isn't so much about killing guys as it is picking at their morale... we'll see how combat works soon enough!


Gunfreak said...

I've been waiting for those pics.
The table and everything is damn sexy. Just how many units do you get on the table?

Author said...

Hey Gun!

Glad you liked it!

As for units... I am not sure:) Honestly the table is a hair small for large 25mm battles, but for these guys it seems pretty good. It really depends on what you consider a unit. This is basically six brigades of 10mm... the big shots with everything on the table is closer to 26 or so brigades, each with between 8 and 12 stands of infantry... at that point it is overpacked, I think, for a game, but cool to look at.

I think the ideal size might be maybe 14 or so brigades? I'll have to try a few more games.

Thanks for coming by and for the kind words!